WICHITA, Kan. – The Allen Americans scored first, but the Wichita Thunder struck back, posting three goals in less than four and half minutes to hold off Allen and force a game seven in the Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals.
Forward Ian Lowe hit the would-be game winner with 59-seconds remaining in the first period, to the delight of the 5,009 fans in attendance Friday at Intrust Bank Arena.
Allen’s Brian McMillin scored his playoff-leading 12th goal 7:36 into the opening period while on the power play, giving the Americans the early lead. It would take some time, but Wichita would answer back. Seven minutes later the Thunder began a stretch of play that would put them over the top and keep their post-season alive.
Greger Hanson’s rebound goal at 14:42 tied the game and the Wichita offense was locked in from there. 30-seconds later, Wichita took the lead. Chad Painchaud found Kevin Young in the slot and Young blasted a one-timer past Allen goalie Aaron Dell to make it 2-1. Ian Lowe went on to add a rebound goal with 59-seconds remaining in the first, making it a 3-1 Wichita lead as the Thunder outshot the Americans 14-4.
Allen attempted to start a comeback in the middle frame, matching Wichita shot for shot (14-14), as the two sides battled closely. The Thunder was unable to add to their lead, as their special teams unit failed to convert on a man advantage early on and a four-on-four situation late in the period.
Allen did manage to pull within one, when Anthony Maiani scored midway through the second. With Maiani streaking towards the net, Darryl Bootland knocked the puck down the boards to Jim McKenzie who passed it back to Maiani, who then beat Thunder goaltender Torrie Jung on a one-timer from the slot.
As the clock ticked down, neither team would be able to add to the score sheet. Allen had two power play opportunities in the final period, but failed to tie the game, setting up a deciding game seven.
The deciding game in the CHL Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals is scheduled for later tonight in Allen with the face-off set for 7:05 pm CST. This will be just the sixth game seven in the CHL Finals in the league’s history. Wichita went 4-5-1 against Allen in the regular season, and was 1-3-1 against Allen at the Allen Event Center. Wichita has won just one of three games in Allen in the finals.
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